350 YEARS IN THE MAKING
Saint-Gobain recently celebrated a remarkable milestone of 350 years in business – taking the opportunity to remind everyone of the strength that is acquired through 350 years of history and ongoing innovation.
Saint-Gobain’s global strategy is focused around meeting some of the fundamental challenges faced by the world today: reducing energy consumption, limiting our impact on the environment, and creating a new generation of buildings which are safe, comfortable and energy efficient.
Steve Severs, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain Glass Industry commented, “Saint- Gobain has evolved and adapted across business types and territories to maintain growth and success in its 350 years. Even in the short history of Eggborough we have changed, adapted and updated our own business model to prosper.
“Thus the 350 celebration represents international recognition of the local and corporate capability to innovate, to work through people and to re- develop our businesses so that we face the future from a position of strength and can be truly classed as sustainable.”
Between 14-17 October, Saint-Gobain Glass hosted a series of events to celebrate the 350 years landmark. The first event was a customer celebration on site at Eggborough which entertained a room full of customers and focused on the challenges faced by businesses in the future with guest speaker James Stacey, from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and Richard Batley, Director of HR & CSR at Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland.
The day also included opportunities to network, a site tour and a charity auction – which raised over £3,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support
The second event was devoted to recognising the contribution that employees had made, with speeches and plenty of fun activities for everyone to try - including a giant Scalextric, segways, archery, and a climbing wall.
The third day was spent with pupils from three local schools who were inspired by a series of activities, including a poster competition, watching a demonstration of glass being blown and an insight into life working as a macon around the furnace.
The final day was devoted to the often unsung heroes – friends and family – with nearly 400 people attending to experience the Eggborough plant in operation and take part in a fun day of activities which included shooting, adventure playgrounds and mobile zoo.
Saint-Gobain Glass and Glassolutions (also part of the Saint-Gobain Group) held a joint party at the historic Tower Bridge in London. Around 150 guests from the architectural and insurance markets, as well as key glass customers and stakeholders, including Peter Hindle MBE enjoyed an evening’s entertainment. Simon Carin, MD of Building Glass UK and Ireland, hosted the evening and introduced the guest of honour, historian and TV presenter, Dan Cruickshank.
The celebrations included a specially designed 350th anniversary cocktail named Pont de Verre, and a ‘selfie station’ that encouraged guests to take photos of themselves on the newly installed glass floor walkways at Tower Bridge, and share them on social media. The venue holds special significance for Saint-Gobain because Glassolutions designed and installed the two glass floor walkways last year, to create unique views of the bridge and river below, and to enhance the appeal of the historic, Grade I listed visitor attraction.
The events in the glass division complimented a number Saint-Gobain events held around the globe during 2015. These included exhibitions in Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Philadelphia and Paris in addition to an online exhibition, the creation of an online game “World 350”. In the UK, a charity bike ride was also held earlier in the year with riders cycling from London to the Saint-Gobain Archives in Blois which raised over £120,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support and the Irish Cancer Society.
The history of Saint-Gobain has been detailed in an ‘anniversary book’ in five different languages, available in bookshops worldwide. Historical documents show that in October 1665 the King of France granted the financier Nicolas Dunoyer and his associates the exclusive right to manufacture ‘mirror glass’. The aim was to compete directly with the supremacy of the Republic of Venice in the European mirror market. The Saint-Gobain name originates from a town in Northern France of the same name where a technique called ‘table casting’ was devised for manufacturing large sheets of mirror glass. The glass works remained open until 1993.